This is probably my favorite version of the 23rd Psalm in song. Apologies to those who hate Marty Haugen. I truly think this one is beautiful and it has special meaning for me that I’ll unpack next week.
But my word for 2015 is “shepherd.” And I know a lot of people were like, “wait, what?” when they heard my word. In the past I’ve used peace, joy, kindness and quiet. So “shepherd?” Well, my main impetus for originally selecting it was my patron being Saint Peter (so appropriate for me on so many levels) and it was those verses, the ones I chose to be my verses of the year: John 21:15-19 that led me to this word. Feed my sheep.
But in the last two weeks since I announced the word and all that jazz, I’ve come to rely more on the leaning on God to be my shepherd vs me feeding His sheep as such. And I’ve been hearing other words of Peter’s from the sixteenth chapter of Matthew,
“You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16)
When Jesus asked the disciples who did they say he was, Peter’s voice was the one that spoke. And He was the first to reveal the true divine nature of Jesus Christ. He knew Jesus was the Good Shepherd who would lead His sheep to God if only they would let Him. And I’ve been searching my soul of late, searching and declaring to Jesus, I know you are the Good Shepherd. I know you are the Son of the living God. Shepherd me safely through these storms, this limbo, this indecision.
And I’ve heard the refrain of Marty Haugen’s version of the 23rd Psalm when I feel at my most desperate, yes, Shepherd me O God beyond my wants, beyond my fears, from death into life. Because only Jesus can do that. Only He can lead me in His paths. Take me beyond what I simply want and lead me to what You want. Take me beyond my feeble human fears and show me the joy of submitting to Your holy will. Lead me away from the death of this world into life with You.
I am clinging, the sheep that I am, to Jesus right this second. I am praying that He leads me to the quiet waters of peace so that my spirit shall truly sing the music of His name.
Right now, I can shepherd my family best by clinging to the Good Shepherd who knows His sheep, and His sheep know Him. (John 10:14) Who has already laid His life down for me (John 10:11). I chose this word in a fit of optimism and happiness, and God has shown me I will need to remember it when things are not that way. I will cling to it, beyond my wants, beyond my fears, from death into life.